The story of our family...for my sons

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

...taking it up the arse...ouch!

Edward II was King of England from 1307 until he was removed and murdered in 1327. John de Maltravers, my 15th great grandfather, was part of the plot to remove and imprison the King.

Edward II was not a well-liked King. By all accounts, he was nothing like his sure and confident father, Edward I. When Edward II left England to marry Isabella of France, he left his friend, Piers Gaveston to enforce his rule. The land barons of the time detested Gaveston, and had him banished from the country. When Edward II returned to his throne, he recalled Piers Gaveston back into his favor. However, Earl of Lancaster and his baron allies, executed Gaveston before he could return. Edward II was determined to cause much grief to the barons. He began to confiscate land and give it to Gaveston's relatives, increasing the anger of the barons. In 1322, Edward II attempted to strike down all laws that limited his power.

France became increasingly irritated with Edward II, because he refused to pay France for land that the King had occupied. Edward II's wife, Isabella of France, returned to her home country to forge a peace treaty. However, while in France, she formed an alliance with Roger Mortimer to overthrow Edward II on their return. When Edward II learned of the plan, he summoned up his great army to fight Mortimer's troops, but Edward's army refused to fight for him. The King fled, but Henry of Lancaster, part of Mortimer's forces, caught him and taken to Kenliworth. Edward's supporters were executed, but the King remained a prisoner. Isabella and Roger Mortimer did not know what to do with him. Laws prevented them from executing a King without a trial for treason. However, they both thought that Henry of Lancaster was too accomodating of a jailer for Edward II, so they turned over the responsibility of imprisoning the King to Sir John de Maltravers, for the purpose of using whatever means necessary (torture) to drive the King mad.

He was held by both John de Maltravers and Lord Berkeley in Berkley's castle. However, the population seemed to side with Edward. Religious sermons condemned the actions of Isabella and Roger Mortimer, and they knew that their assumption of the King's powers could be rightfully challenged at any time. On October 11, 1327, two officers from Isabella's and Mortimer's forces entered the castle where Sir John de Maltravers and Lord Berkley were guarding Edward II. That evening, screams from the King's chambers were heard by people outside of the castle. The next morning, Edward II was dead. The prevailing rumor was that the King was killed by the insertion of a red hot metal rod into his rectum. This was accomplished by the insertion of a tube into the King's anus, and then a red hot rod was inserted through the tube into the rectum and intestines, which would have left no burn marks on the outside of the King's buttocks. There was no official investigation of the death, and Edward II was quickly interred in the abbey church of Saint Peters, Gloucestershire.

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